For the TRIGGER WARNING Contest we saw three superb stories make the short list. Not only were we impressed by the quality of the entries, but also saw this reflected in our judges, who had a lot of difficulty separating the three.
We’ll begin with a quick run through of each story, followed by Judge’s comments. Finally, the winner announcement is at the bottom. Here we go.
The Short List
THE DISHONOURED by Ash Warren
We’re really impressed with Ash Warren’s output of late. In the Dishonoured he continues to push the bar, focusing on Feudal Japan, the story whirls between the tales of Matsuda and Suruga, two Samurai who have lost their master, each wary of the other. Suruga thinks Matsuda has betray him, while Matsuda carries a secret without knowing who to trust.
It’s a great story and if you haven’t checked it out, or just want to give it another read, you can find it here.
MRS DUNFREY’S GOLD by Haley Weiss
One of two newcomers this week, Haley Weiss provides us with a character study of one woman under pressure to save her town from destruction.
What this story lacks in time and place it more than makes up for with characterisation, unreliable narrator, and a strong, consistent voice. We’re excited to see more from Haley in the future. If you haven’t read MRS DUNFREY’S GOLD yet, you can find it here.
SEVEN DEAD EYES by Milos Tellman
Another western by a NiTH first timer, Milos Tellman loads his story with crafty bandits and desperados ala The Magnificent Seven. Showing a good understanding of the brief, Tellman also makes use of the unreliable narrator to lead us along a couple of twists and turns. It’s a great effort and a bold effort. To read SEVEN DEAD EYES click here.
We used five judges chosen at random for the TRIGGER WARNING Award. Each was asked to score every story out of 10.0. We asked Judge T.R. what they thought of the stories, and how they approached the judging process.
Thanks for giving me this opportunity. The main components I looked at where adherenace to the brief and something new or interesting in the story that would hold my attention. Also, because the brief asked the writers to look at the emotional states of the characters, I took note of any strong emotional responses I had when reading.
I read each story twice.
There were three stories on the short list, which I think made it harder to judge. Last year I volunteered on a judge panel that had 6 it 7 stories I and that made it much easier for me to decide which I liked better.
I’ve been asked to provide my thoughts on each story. So here we go.
Seven Dead Eyes Short Story
I thought this was a great story. Breaking it up by the character names really gave it a kind of epic feel, even though these chapters were quite short.
I liked the twist at the end though I thought part of it could have been done a little better as I had to do back and read the Calvin Carson chapter to really understand.
Also, maybe because there were so many characters, but I didn’t think there was too much exploration of the emotional aspects that were asked for in the brief.
Overall though, this was a great story. The writing was very clear and I liked the dialogue and the pace.
Mrs Dunfrey’s Gold Short Story
I loved the title for this, and I liked that the character’s gender wasn’t revealed until about half way through.
When judging I read every story twice. I think this one benefitted the most from the second reading. I think the author needed to be a little clearer in some respects to the choices the main character was making. I also thought there should have been more about the setting as the brief called for this. Both the other stories did this much better.
If each story was turned into a longer format, say a novel, I think this would be the most interesting. While the other two seem more focused on the traditions of the genre, Mrs Dunfrey’s Gold seemed to have a bigger world behind it, more back story. I like it!
The Dishonored Short Story
Of the three this was the only one set in Japan and for that reason alone it stood out. I though the research into setting and terminology was awesome. I was prompted to look up some history of Feudal Japan and I found it enlightening. I also though the character development was excellent. Of the three stories this had the fewest characters and I think that gave the author more time to develop their personalities and motivations.
Because of this, I think I had the strongest ’emotional’ reactions and thought I got to know the characters better in this story.
We’d like to thank everyone that entered and our judges for volunteering their time and effort.
Our winner this week, for his story ‘The Dishonoured,” is Ash Warren!!!
Congratulations Ash, looks like recent efforts are paying off.
Coming up next wek have the DALLAS LAWYERS CLUB Short list. So keep and eye out on that. We also have serveral open awards right now. Find them all here.